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The Second Gilded Age

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Daily Intel: STCU (Special Taste Crimes Unit)

We're in a recession, and the ultrarich are spending money like it's, well, going out of style. Spending one's own money, you might say, is not a crime. But as far as we're concerned, bragging about it to the 'Times' should be.

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Among Other Things, Eliot Spitzer Has Contributed to Hooker Inflation

Spitzwhores
When we were little, our grandpa used to tell us stories about the olden days. "Used to be, you could get a hooker for a dollar!" he'd say. "Those were the days." Sigh. If Grandpa had seen the complaint filed in the bust of Emperor's Club — well, he'd have about keeled over. The preferred escort service of former governor Eliot Spitzer, according to the complaint, charged between $1,000 and $5,000 an hour. And, as one potential prostie was heard to complain, that didn't even include dinner. Inflation affects even the oldest profession, and according The Wall Street Journal, the "wealth boom — and the explosion in the number of multi-millionaires — has created entirely new pricing levels for escorts." Of 661 people who own private jets, a survey from Prince & Associates, a Connecticut-based wealth-research firm, found, 34 percent of males and 20 percent of the females had paid for sex. And that's just of people who owned private jets. If you apply those percentages to, say, people who own BMWs, that's enough to skew the numbers for everyone. But at least one thing remains the same since Grandpa's* day: The most popular reason the people surveyed gave for using escorts was “unique experiences." How the New Rich Are Changing the Oldest Profession [WSJ] Earlier: You Can Say This About the Girls of the Emperor's Club: They're No Morons *We made this bit up. Our real Grampy, God rest his soul, was a wonderful man and a devout Catholic who never ran with loose women. With the exception of his second wife. But they were married.

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This Is How the End Begins

Rock
Pull your monitor close, dear readers, and let Auntie Intel tell you a story. Long ago, back in the Second Gilded Age, many people were very, very wealthy. Parents shelled out $10 million for bat mitzvahs and $2,500 for Hannah Montana tickets, and once, someone even bought a grilled cheese on eBay for $28,000 because he thought it looked a little like the Virgin Mary. And so people had high hopes for the 30-pound chunk of rock that was a section of the world's most famous meteorite, the Willamette meteorite. It just looked like a rock, but it had fallen from the sky in 1902, killing a cow in the process. This made the rock very valuable indeed, and people came from far and wide to see it. There was interest from people like Stephen Spielberg! And Nicholas Cage! And Yo-Yo Ma! It was expected, people said, to fetch a value of $1.3 million. And so, on the day of the auction there was much excitement. The bidding went up to $300,000! But then it stopped. No one bought the rock. People didn't know it at the time — Britney Spears was acting up again, and who could pay attention? — but the incident, and the image of the rock, lonely and unpurchased on its stand, would in time became the symbol of the End of the Second Gilded Age. Manhattan: Meteorite Goes Unsold at Auction [NYT] Related: The Coming Economic Apocalypse

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